Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by ADIC Diego Rodriguez Regarding UN General Assembly Bribery Case
Today, the FBI arrested former United Nations President John Ashe; Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN for the Dominican Republic Francis Lorenzo; Ng Lap Seng, aka David Ng; Jeff Yin; Yan Shiwei, aka Sheri Yan; and Paio Hongyue, aka Heidi Park, on charges including conspiracy, bribing a United Nations official, falsifying U.S. income tax returns, and conspiracy to launder money.
Today, we are also sending a message to those who come to the United States from other countries with corruption plans and bags full of cash—no one is above or beyond the law.
As this case is alleged in the complaint, there are two different schemes with payers and payment receivers. While Ashe served in roles as United Nations Ambassador for Antigua and Barbuda and the 68th president of the United Nations General Assembly, he used it as a place to personally enrich himself and his family.
Ng and his assistant, Yin, paid Ashe to advocate for Ng’s business interests and contracts with the government of Antigua and Barbuda. Additionally, Lorenzo facilitated payments for support of a real estate project of Ng’s in Macau, China.
Ng and Yin were also noted to travel to the United States with bags packed with hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash on multiple occasions. This is not your typical carry-on for legitimate business trips.
Yan and Park were also payers in another scheme, facilitating payments to Ashe on behalf of Chinese businessmen.
Ashe made it very clear in e-mails and documents that he could use his access to the prime minister and other government officials to set up meetings and promote contracts for businessmen who were willing to pay. He also made his business bank account numbers very clear in e-mails.
It doesn’t matter if it is millions of dollars or just hundreds of dollars—there is no level of “acceptable corruption.” Public corruption is and remains a top priority for the FBI, and we have continually proven that no individual or organization is too big or powerful to be immune from prosecution.
The support the FBI receives from our partners in federal, state, and local law enforcement is invaluable to our cases. In this instance, I would like to thank the Internal Revenue Service for their assistance with this investigation. Thank you to Chief Rich Weber, Acting SAC Tom Bishop, and ASAC Manny Murriel.
Many thanks, as always, to our partners from the Southern District of New York: U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel Richenthal, Rahul Mukhi, and Janis Echenberg.
I would also like to recognize the diligent and dedicated work of Special Agents Jason Alberts, Ryan Carey, Jared Wells, Supervisory Special Agent Jared Witmier, ASAC George Khouzami, and ASAC Ed Finnegan.